Saturday, February 13, 2010

"You die, your business!"

For many years, even as a late teenager, I was struck with loathing at the very mention of the name Lee Kuan Yew. Even the sight his (sneering) visage made me want to hurl something, anything at the TV/newspaper/billboard/whatever said sneering visage was plastered on.

I know now that my feelings were neither misplaced nor wrong.

The following is an article, itself excerpted from an interview which the old f****r gave to National Geographic magazine:

Speaking to journalist Mark Jacobson, Lee spoke about the ruling party’s liberal immigration and pro-foreigner policies as if he was their principal architect.
Though he said he was aware of the fact that “many Singaporeans are unhappy with the influx of immigrants”, Lee continued to insist that it is for the “good” of the nation:
“Over time, Singaporeans have become less hard-driving and hard-striving. This is why it is a good thing that the nation has welcomed so many Chinese immigrants.” Lee was quoted saying.
Lee described the country’s new subjects as “hungry,” with parents who “pushed the children very hard.”
“If native Singaporeans are falling behind because the spurs are not stuck into the hide, that is their problem,” he quipped.
There are 82 PAP MPs in Parliament and none of them have come out in the open to dispute the remarks made by Lee. Can we therefore conclude that all of them agree with Lee ?
This is as good as saying to Singaporeans in Hokkien – “you die your business!” which should not be a surprise to Singaporeans anyway.
Despite being the richest country in Asia after Japan, Singaporeans enjoy few social welfare benefits which explain why the country continues to suffer a brain drain of its brightest citizens yearly to other countries like Australia, Canada and United States.
The government can afford to lose billions of dollars in failed overseas investments without blinking an eyelid, but unable or unwilling to provide a basic social safety net for Singaporeans, especially those from the low income group.
The PAP has long eschewed any form of “welfare” for Singaporeans on the grounds that it will retard our competitiveness by creating a “crutch” mentality in the populace.
As such, Singaporeans are exhorted to work for as long as they can till the day they drop dead. One minister even urged local workers to be “cheaper, faster and better” when he should walk his talk first by reducing his own bloated salary.
Our per capita income is the fourth highest in the world, but our income gap as measured by the Gini Coefficient is the second highest in Asia after Hong Kong whose figures are skewed by a disproportionately higher number of billionaires. On the other hand, Japan has one of the lowest income disparity between the rich and poor.
This discrepancy is hardly surprising as the PAP has opened the floodgate to immigrants who flock to Singapore in search of a better life.
One does not need to be an economist to figure out that the influx of cheap foreign labor will increase the profit margin of big businesses and companies thereby raising the income of their owners and directors while helping to depress the wages of ordinary Singaporeans.
At the same time, business costs are lowered contributing to GDP growth without necessarily increasing productivity which explains why GDP is a very poor reflection of the distribution of wealth and the overall well-being of the citizens in a country.
Furthermore, a certain percentage of PAP ministers’ multi-million annual salary is pegged to GDP figures which may explain the PAP’s perpetual obsession with the GDP.
To the average Singapore worker eking out a living in the streets, GDP means nothing to him or her at all. All he/she cares for is whether his/her pay is sufficient to support oneself and family, to start a family, raise the children up and to retire comfortably when he/she is old.
20 years ago, it will not be too difficult to achieve the Singapore dream. Young couples are able afford a HDB flat relatively easily, they face little competition from foreign workers for jobs, the cost of living is low compared to today’s standard and before 2003, they are able to withdraw their CPF in one lump sum to enjoy life in their golden years.
Today, Singaporeans are facing an increasingly bleak, uncertain and insecure future. The monthly median wage of a Singapore worker is only $2,600, about the same 10 years ago while inflation has more than tripled, especially that of public housing.
A graduate fresh out of school will earn no more than $2,800 a month. After paying the tuition loan, one will have little savings left to buy even a car, let alone get married and start a family.
A new four-room HDB flat in Seng Kang cost less than $200,000 in 1999. A similar-sized flat in nearby Punggol now fetches close to $300,000. In the recently launched Dawson BTO project at Queenstown, a five room flat cost on average $666,000.
Acccording to a financial consultant, a couple should earn a minimum of $7,500 monthly before they should even think of buying such a flat and even then, they have to cough out a few hundred dollars every month in cash in addition to their CPF to finance the property which leaves very little for their retirement needs.
Life is never smooth-sailing. What if we are retrenched and replaced by a foreign talent in our mid 40s, met with an accident which renders us permanently unfit to work, afflicted with an incapacitating disease like kidney failure or get embroiled in some lawsuits? How are we going to continue support ourselves and families?
A netizen, Tracy Tan shared this heart-wrenching story on the Vote PAP out facebook:
“I know of a lady who has kidney problems, heart ailment and is half blind. She can’t work because of her health problems. She is 40yrs+, a single parent with a Sec 3 daughter. She is poor, sick and helpless. She approached Family Service Centre for help. FSC saw her need and helped her to pay her HDB rental, utility bill and conservancy charges. In addition, she received $300 per month and $250 school pocket fund for her daughter for meals at school. After helping her for two years, FSC recently told her that it can’t help her with the $300 per month and her daughter’s school pocket fund although her situation remains the same. She was referred to Jayakumar’s MPS. They wrote her a letter to SE CDC to support her case. The reply from the CDC was that “she had been helped for two years already and they can’t help her anymore”. She went back to her MP and he said that he can’t help her anymore as he had already written to CDC for her..”
The above story is not an isolated case, but one which we can easily identify with in our everyday life and it can well happen to you or me one day.
The PAP does provide temporary forms of financial assistance to the needy in the form of NTUC vouchers, utility bill rebates and waival of conservancy charges, but these are stop-gap measures which address only the symptoms of the disease and not its underlying cause.
If this lady is unable to find or hold a long-term job, then it is the duty of the government to step in to help family for as long it is necessary till her daughter complete her studies and start working.
There are many needy Singaporeans who are in dire straits and yet not able to qualify for state support due to its stringent criteria: one must be certified either permanently unfit to work forever by a medical specialist or completely destitute meaning that one has no living relatives left before one can apply for Public Assistance (PA) and even then, it is granted only on a case by case basis.
Another real life story: a 73 year old lady has to pick used cardboards for a living in Toa Payoh Lorong 7. She has a fifty year old son who is mentally challenged and therefore unable to hold on a permanent job. She could not qualify for PA because she still has a son, never mind the fact that nobody wants to employ him!
The PA scheme which is run by the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports, offers only $330 monthly to its recipients which is surely insufficient to maintain a decent standard of living fit for a human being in Singapore.
A few years ago, the amount is only $290 and when PAP MP Dr Lily Neo asked MCYS Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan to increase the sum so that PA recipients can have three meals a day as an entitlement, he shot back: “How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?”
It is not as if MCYS is so cash-strapped that it is unable to provide more to the PA recipients. Dr Vivian just unveiled a $10-million dollar Community Integration Fund to make new citizens and PRs feel “welcomed” in Singapore. Why not spend it to help Singaporeans who have contributed to the nation in one way or another?
The primary role of the elected government of the day is to take care of its citizens who voted for it, not to compete with other nations in terms of some obscure economic indicator, flaunt one’s wealth to the world by saving distressed foreign banks or jet around the globe at the expense of taxpayers to lecture other leaders on how to run their countries.
Lee’s latest remarks will demolish any future attempts by the PAP to portray itself as a party which cares for Singaporeans. He has already stated very clearly in no uncertain terms: if Singaporeans are unable to keep up with the immigrants, don’t ever expect the PAP to help us – it is our business, not theirs.
For a young graduate struggling to start a family due to sky-rocketing costs of public housing, it is not the business of the PAP to bring the prices down.
For a middle-aged man who is retrenched because his company manages to find a younger and cheaper replacement from China or India, it is not the business of the PAP to help him find another job.
For an elderly man who has to work as a cleaner to support himself because he has no savings left in his CPF, it is not the business of the PAP to ensure he has three basic meals a day.
This is the kind of society Singapore has become under 44 years of uninterrupted PAP rule – cold, unfeeling and materialistic. Can such a country ever hope to attract the best talent in the world to settle here? Is it little wonder that Singapore is getting the “discards” from China and India and not their crème de la crème who prefer to migrate to U.S, Canada, Europe and Australia?
The PAP’s economic policies have already taken a toll on the low income group and are now affecting the middle class. The rich businessmen, doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers may think they have “prospered” under PAP rule, but wait a minute – stop and ponder over the future of your children.
Do you want them to grow up competing with foreigners over a coveted place in a Singapore university? Do you want them to fight tooth and nail with the more “hard-driving and hard-striving” immigrants for a job which pays no more than $2,000 a month? Do you wish to see them perpetually stressed, frustrated and unhappy because they are unable to make enough money to finance their lifestyle? And lastly, do you really bear to see your children working for as long as they are able to because they are unable to retire?
Even for PAP members with connections inside the system – your futures are not as secure as it seems. Unless you belong to the elite, you may soon find yourselves replaced by their new “pets” from China, India, Malaysia, Philipines, Bangladesh, Timbuktu and god knows where.
The PAP is not even a political party now after the departure of the Old Guards in the 1980s. It is nothing more than an empty shell filled by department store dummies whose only purpose is to masquerade Singapore as a “parliamentary democracy” to the rest of the world.
As Lee puts it succinctly himself:
“To be the prime minister, you don’t have to know every instrument, but you got to recognise, ah, he’s a good violinist, he’ll be the first violinist, he’ll be the double bass. He will play the viola, he will have the trumpet, he will do the drums. Then you coordinate them and then you have great music. And if you already have a great orchestra, you can put a dummy there and you still got great music.”
Now we know why none of the 82 PAP MPs dare to contradict the old man – because they are all dummies who do not deserve a seat in parliament in the first place.
So Singaporeans, the next time some PAP MP come up to you and promise to voice your concerns in parliament, just remind them of the PAP’s mantra to Singaporeans:

Finally, the man whom many see as a "founding father" and is almost god-like to an older generation of Singaporeans has finally been exposed as a hypocritical bastard who cannot and will not keep his bloody yap shut. And our votes keep him power!!!

For that matter, I had high hopes when Vivian Balakrishnan joined the ruling party. I thought, here's a man who has ideals, can speak out, and will be a shining light in an increasingly dark age. In less than a year, my ideals came crashing down around my ears as I watched him transform into a mangina, a cojone-less travesty.

Its telling that none of the media have broadcast this damning interview. So much for free speech and freedom of the press. For my part, I'm putting this on my blog so that people will have a chance to read it and form their own opinions. If anyone wants a properly formatted PDF just write to me -you'll find the email in my profile- and I'll be more than happy to send it to you.


1 comment:

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